Her hair was like black licorice, cold, curled, and still. Her lips, though dry and cracking, were full and puckered like a peach. She had the bone structure of an African goddess, one girls would kill for nowadays. Her nose, though slim and straight had a slight bend in the middle, only adding to the magnificence of her beauty. Detach yourself, detach yourself,
I told myself, She’s not human anymore. She’s a corpse.
Her long, slender limbs hung awkwardly from the anatomy lab table. Her wrinkled, dark brown skin reminded me of a sun-ripened raisin, especially around her eyes and mouth. She had clearly been a smiler. As I wondered what color eyes were hiding behind her thin, delicate eyelids embedded with tiny withered folds of skin, I resisted the urge to lift one to see. Standing stone still, I stared back at the body I would soon be working on, and read the nametag—“Dorothy Hollins, teacher, 85.”* She reminded me of my grandmother. Detach yourself
, I heard the back of my mind tell me once again. Even though I knew I shouldn’t, I began to wonder what her life had been like. How many times had she brushed her wily curls, commanding them to lay down with every stroke as each tendril fought against it like little baby snakes fighting to gain the upper hand? Detach yourself.
What was it about her heart that made her smile so much that even in death, the slight left crook of her lips with the surrounding smile lines betrayed any frown she may have had while living? I wondered if it was any bigger than other corpses I had seen. How many of her students had been enlightened by her brain, with its numerous nerve connections filled with memories, losses, and happiness, the one I knew I would end up dissecting soon? Detach yourself.